Giddyup

Yesterday I had probably the best ride I’ve had since last year’s Prouty in July. 60+ miles from Goffstown, out to New Boston, Bennington, Antrim, looping back through Weare. 3000+ feet of climbing, and I was just wailing on every single climb. On one effin’ gear. As the ride wore on, my legs were definitely less and less reliable, but I was completely and totally abusive to them. So what the hell gives? Why all of a sudden am I riding like this?

  1. Weather was super cooperative. Mix of sun and clouds, a little warm at times, but when the mild winds weren’t holding you back, they were cooling you off.
  2. Breathing during hard efforts. Focusing on breathing is a great trick that Grampie showed me a few rides ago. Just get the air solidly in and out. It distracts you from everything else and gives your body the only thing it can really use during super hard efforts: oxygen.
  3. Strategy: when the going gets hard, go hard. I think this nugget of wisdom came from Joey Adams. Commit to the effort. When the hard efforts are done, recover your heart rate. On this bike I can go deep into the well of zone 5, but come out in zone 0 after the dust clears.
  4. FUEL. Sarah Crane gave me everything I needed here. Don’t eat shit you can’t use, period. Gels convert easily to energy. Solid foods end up sitting in your stomach and rob you of energy while they digest. Judicious use of Powerbar gels, plus a magical Everything Bagel+OJ breakfast made me feel almost unstoppable. My only solid food was a tiny can of Pringles, probably at the halfway point, when the going was fairly easy.
  5. Core strength. It’s coming back. I’ve been doing regular work on this, and yesterday some new friends came to the party. And hopefully more are on the way.

That was probably my last big ride for a few weeks; I’m away for work-related training soon, so it will be kind of a mixed bag of cross training until mid-June.

I’m pretty encouraged today. Maybe I’m out of the woods now. What I really need is another effort up Kearsarge to see where I’m really at this year in terms of climbing. If I’m solid up there, then we’re in business.

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